Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taiwan: The Heart of Asia -- So I Took Their Tests

Taiwan Agent Specialist Certificate

Close to Home This Time

Taiwan Tourism contacted me today and, encouraged me to finish this course.

Somewhere along the line, I had enrolled but, never took the tests.

Awhile back, I was planning a trip to Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands in the south of Okinawa.

Right before, I was ready to pack up and leave, I got hacked.

Credit card and an email account, somehow got compromised. Groan.

Two banks, notified me of suspicious activity. I chopped up the card and ordered a new one.

Well, I was busy and forgot all about Taiwan and the travel professional's school.

All is well now, with the banks and email so, off to the online course, I went.

Taiwan Would Be a Fun Place to Visit

It's just a little over an hour flight time from Naha, Okinawa. I could handle that.

It's been awhile since, the last time, I visited Taiwan and, that was just the big city, Taipei.

Now, that I've learned some culture, history and geography, I want to see all of the island.

They have stuff like, bears, deer, monkeys and wild boar plus, lots of migratory birds.

Mountains over 12,000 feet, big raging rivers, lots of jungles and, a mild climate.

Heck. It would take me hours, to get to Africa, Hawaii, Mexico or Switzerland !

Should I disappear suddenly, for a week or three, you can probably guess, where I'll be.

Travel Agent Academy

This course was an external one, not at the Travel Agent Academy.

But, taking their courses was probably, how I got referred to Taiwan Travel Bureau.

Around the globe, I have been taking travel agent courses, not because I'm a travel agent.

A travel professional, isn't necessarily a travel agent. It's someone involved in the industry.

Writers and photographers, can be travel professionals, too.

Most to my photography and writing, has been about Okinawa. That's my specialty.

But, I like to peek at other countries and, see what they're promoting for the tourism industry.

It gives me ideas, when I see them, promoting whatever is unique, about their location.

Things like, the fastest train, slowest train, tallest mountain and widest river.

Okinawa has the best beer !

Monday, September 25, 2017

Two Animations from Kin Town Sports Day

Elementary School Undokai

An Undokai is a school sporting event, held this time of year, throughout Japan.

They have relays, gymnastics and a tug o war but, my favorite part is the Eisa.

Eisa drummers dancing

Only a small portion of the orchestra is visible in this GIF.

That's because, I'm up on a hillside, trying to get a good composition.

It was a blazing hot, sunny day which, reminded everyone of mid August.

The kids, down there are from Kin Elementary School. It was October 24, 1017.

Chondara dancing barefoot, photographer

The photographer, in this animation probably, got some great close-ups.

But, I was happy, being off the athletic field, taking my shots from a distance.

Actually, I was outside the school grounds and, I had a plan.

As soon as the Eisa was over, I'd be heading for some shade and, wouldn't run into a crowd.

It seemed like, two or three thousand people, were in attendance. The place was packed.

Twenty minutes of walking, had me back in an air-conditioned office, downloading cameras.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Winner Is Photo #1

Yotsudake dancer performing on stage

Getting Business Cards Printed

A decision had to be made about, which image to display on my meishi (business cards).

Last night, I posted three photos on Facebook and, asked folks to help me decide.

There's a lot of Okinawa experts on Facebook and, I value their opinions.

But, to get more rounded advice, I went the extra mile and, did some bar hopping.

Using an unscientific method, I asked only Ryukyu people, which photo they'd choose.

Mejiro in cherry blossoms, birds, flowers, sakura, Japanese White Eye

When you look at the photos, which one most represents Ryukyu Life ?

Knowing, there are bird lovers, around the globe, I knew they would vote for the Mejiro.

Some, even suggested gold or silver text, would make this image pop.

But, other folks said the Mejiro, doesn't necessarily represent Okinawa.

These little birds live in mainland Japan and, Hawaii, too.

Girl performing sign language with a band, Okinawa

This image of an 8 year old girl performing sign language with a band, is a favorite of mine.

It was selected by men and women, on Facebook and, out in town.

It was especially a favorite, of those who heard the story, behind the image.

It's another photo that would go great with white, gold or, silver print.

First Photo Got the Most Responses

There was no need, to tally the numbers and, scratch them down on paper.

Verbally and, on Facebook, the top picture, represented Ryukyu, to the most people.

If you found 3 women in a bar, 2 out of 3, would select that image.

So, I had plenty of fun, doing my research last night. Business is business. I work hard.

One guy, came up with something, I hadn't thought of, though.

"Mike, there's no Eisa picture in there. Eisa is Ryukyu," he said.

But, out of the three, he liked photo #1 the most.

A bit more editing on the Yotsudake dancer above and, she's going to the print shop !

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Unnamed Caterpillar Got Identified Today

Hiji Waterfall in northern Okinawa

No Sense Rushing Things

The first and only time, I ever ran across a white caterpillar, like this was April of 2015.

Doc Graff and I were on a mission, to find and photograph the endangered Ryukyu Robin.

April is the best month to find them, close to the ground, feeding their youngsters.

We, didn't run up the trail because, we're a bit too mature, to act like teenagers.

We huff and puff and meander up the mountain and, enjoy the fresh air.

Taking your time, gives a better view of nature. We're very observant.

Chrysaeglia magnifica taiwana, moth, caterpillar

Doc, had gone ahead, to get closer to the waterfall when, I spotted this.

Climbing the trail, there's spots where, cellular service no longer exists.

It's like being in the wilderness which, I kind of enjoy. I was catching my breath.

Standing on this wooden platform, smoking a cigarette is what, I was really doing.

Whoa.  It's like some little bottle brush, started coming towards me.

Forget smoking. Put the butts in yer pocket and, get down to shooting !

caterpillar, white, red legs, Chrysaeglia magnifica

It's a good idea, to get photos from as many angles as possible.

You'd never know, this guy has red feet if, you didn't get down real close to him.

All along, I'm wondering, what kind of butterfly this creature would turn out to be.

white caterpillar with red legs

In my pending photo files, there are hundreds of items, waiting for identification.

Yesterday, I sent these photos, to a couple of sites for help.

The Moth and Butterfly Identification Forum, on Facebook, came through today.

Chrysaeglia magnifica, was suggested by a gal named Lisa.

After checking several websites (with images) I think, I've narrowed it down.

This one, will be named Chrysaeglia magnifica taiwana, for the time being.

In no particular order except, the way the research got done, here's links:

Scientific Name: Chrysaeglia magnifica taiwana

English Name: It doesn't have one, yet

Japanese Name:  (Rurimon hosoka) ルリモンホソバ 

Mission Completed

A hike all the way to to top of the trail, wouldn't have been complete, without photos.

We went, hunting for the Ryukyu Robin but, didn't see any along the way.

The falls and some white caterpillar, would be the only memories from that trip.

Ryukyu Robin, Larvivora komadori, bird, nature, wildlife, Okinawa

Coming back down the trail, I spotted someone, down by the river.

A nature guide and a woman, with a camera and a humongous lens, were in there.

She was shooting the birds, we had come all this way to capture.